JAMES BOLLE (b.1931): Sinfonias II "E", III and IV (Monadnock Festival Orchestra; James Bolle), Violin Songs (Susan Narucki [soprano], Curtis Macomber [violin]).
Catalogue Number: 10L084
Reference: TROY 1135
Description: Bolle's Sinfonias are not 'symphonic' in the traditional sense. Described by the composer as being like conversations ranging over many subjects and types of material, they consist of brief statements presented as unconnected 'sentences' lasting as little as a few seconds, and seldom as much as a minute. The material is almost all basically tonal, and not infrequently alludes to, or quotes, earlier music - often Baroque or Elizabethan. Sometimes a kind of narrative thread can be detected, as in the 4th movement of Sinfonia III, in which some Purcell-like material seems to be at odds with various Stravinskyan trends of the 20th century; elsewhere this kind of humorously confrontational narrative is less obvious, and the connections, such as they are, are left entirely up to the listener to establish. The lack of development other than by juxtaposition can lead to a sense of fragmentation, but especially in the E sinfonia (inspired by words beginning with that letter) the four movements have distinct characters, as their component 'sentences' clearly add up to more than the sum of the parts. A highly idiosyncratic method of assembling a piece, but a richly varied and curiously satisfying one.